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Healthy Living

May - Healthy Vision Month 2003
1st - Labour Day/May Day
5th - International Midwives Day
8th - World Red Cross Day
9th - Mother's Day
15th - International Day of the Family
31st - World No-Tobacco Day

Healthy Vision Month 2003
[  May ]  

Beginning in May 2003, the National Eye Institute, Department of Health and Human Services, U.S.A. will sponsor Healthy Vision Month in the USA. Each year, Healthy Vision Month will focus on a different Healthy People 2010 vision objective. The focus for May 2003 will be to Reduce blindness and visual impairment in children and adolescents.

Labour Day/May Day
[ 1st May ]  

A day for workers to unite. This probably dates from the day the Socialist and Labour parties assembled during the First Congress of the Second International in the Soviet Union. In India, communist parties review agenda, worker unions either celebrate or make protest marches to highlight their position. It is a Bank holiday.

In Europe May Day celebrates the goddess of spring, Flora. Children dance around a Maypole decked with flowers in keeping with tradition. Balls are held and May Queens are crowned.

World Red Cross Day
[ 8th May ]  

Ever wondered why the Red Cross Society has the symbol of the Red Cross? Because it was started by a Swiss national, Henri Dunant. (The Swiss flag has a white cross on a red background). Dunant, a businessman, on his travels chanced upon a bloody battlefield of Italy, after the savage battle of Solferino. Horrified by the plight of the dying soldiers, he tried to mobilise help from the neighboring villages. He campaigned for an apolitical relief agency and the Red Cross was born in 1864.

The Indian Red Cross rushes milk supply, medicines and relief wherever there is flood, famine or any other disaster. It runs blood banks and the St John's Ambulance service.

St John's Ambulance Services and First Aid

Indian Red Cross and Blood Banks

Mother's Day
[ 9th May ]  

A day to think of the woman who brought you into the world. Initially this was observed in the United States of America. Anne Jarvis is credited with starting Mother's Day in memory of her mother who worked towards healing the scars of the American civil war. She campaigned hard and in 1914, the American President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed Mother's Day. The irony was that Anne Jarvis never became a mother. And she went to court against Mother's Day celebrations because she was shocked to see the idea being commercialised. She even courted arrest in 1923 stopping a Mother's Day function!

International Day of the Family
[ 15th May ]  

In 1986, there was one divorce for every two marriages in the United States of America (Encarta). One out of every four kids did not stay with both biological parents together. Many European countries could have comparable statistics.

There have been many types of family arrangements in different societies, at different points of time. Still, it was convenient to think of a family as the basic unit of society. Now many of the family responsibilities like caring for the aged, baby sitting, and even cooking is handed over to professional agencies. The role of the family is changing at a rate faster than ever before and probably the worst affected are children.

To help governments look at family-related problems with comprehensive policies, the UN declared 1994 as the International Year of the Family and 15th May as the International Day of the Family.

Family Trends

World No-Tobacco Day
[ 31st May ]  

Cigarette smoking is the major environmental cause of cancers of the lung, mouth, pharynx, oesophagus, pancreas, bladder and probably kidney. It has been estimated that more than one million premature deaths in the world today are caused by tobacco. Passive smoking (non-smokers inhaling smoke let off by cigarette smokers) has been identified as a health hazard too. The World No-Tobacco Day tries to give more focus to the fine print Cigarette Smoking is Injurious to Health than the glossy cigarette advertisements.

Quitting Smoking


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